Uncommon Bonds: New WASP 101 Tumblr

As noted before with the now-defunct tumblr Rich White People, the fast-growing image-driven blog format provides its style-junky curators with the ideal platform for presenting a context-free visual blitzkrieg. Otherwise unrelated photos are thrown together into a collage whose cumulative effect is a personal statement about the site creator’s taste. Depending on how you look at it, it’s either an eye-candy banquet or a photographic junk heap.

Today it is with great reluctance (OK, frothing relish) that Ivy Style is obliged to report on a new tumblr site launched by the infamous upper-class impersonator WASP 101. Hardly known for his command of the English language, the visual medium of tumblr will no doubt suit him better.

In “The Preppy Halls of WASP 101,” as the site is colorfully called, we have the perfect case study for an academic examination of the corruption of the authentic self in the digital age. Herein a man, who has donned a mask of anonymity both to protect his fragile but attention-seeking ego as well as absolve himself of accountability, juxtaposes pictures of himself dressed in pompous outfits with photos of English royalty, characters from the television show “Gossip Girl,” and aspirational fashion advertising.

One assumes that in the crafting of his Internet persona, WASP 101 has, either consciously or unconsciously, hoped that in the visual legerdemain of tumblr, followers will be so tricked by the tasteful imagery that they will fail to notice the underlying artifice: that in the visual juxtaposition of himself with his ideals, WASP 101 hopes that his idols will shine their golden light on him, and that he will glow in a kind of gilt by association. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD

56 Comments on "Uncommon Bonds: New WASP 101 Tumblr"

  1. I really enjoyed the last few snarky articles Christian. You’ve proven time and again that you can snark with the best of them. It’s really well done and I mean that. No sarcasm.

    If only you could see beyond the small fry pop shots to cast your highly critical eye on the real bulls**t (such as that latest BB collection) then you may find that you have a respectable little blog here, Rather than Diet Coke ad it actually is… for the most part.

  2. Young Ivy:

    I’d love to get ads by Diet Coke. No sarcasm.

  3. Maybe you could write something on Coke and it’s place in Ivy/Trad? Scour the archives for pictures of college kids drinking Coke, then make up some daft s**t to help bolster the flimsy, thinly veiled begging letter (you call these ‘articles’ I think) to your new potential revenue quarry. Some snarkasm.

    Keep on up that greasy pole old bean!

    All the best,

    YI

  4. The Roll Call | February 18, 2012 at 1:41 pm |

    Pear-shaped man seeks alterations tailor, to adjust trousers to accomodate sizeable waist and thin legs.

  5. Young Ivy, I wasn’t addressing you.

  6. Well done Christian. But enough said. Let’s not pay too much attention to poseurs like WASP 101.

  7. I happen to enjoy the Wasp101 site. How is Richard more of a poser than any of these jazz musicians that so often appear on this site…..posing to be “Ivy”?

  8. Oh, I consider most of them to have been posers to a degree, though most refrained from bookending themselves with the Duke of Windsor and a male model.

  9. Love the post. I am continuously amused by people running to the defense of Captain Uber-WASP, his lack of taste and rehearsed “insight.” Just goes to show “WASP 101” is not the only of his kind- regardless, lets leave them to their gilded imaginations. They’re a great source of cringe-worthy laughter.

  10. Where are the shots of Richard’s fun bags?

  11. At least Richard doesn’t think that jazz musicians and extra-slim clothes have anything to do with Trad style.

  12. Orthodox Trad | February 18, 2012 at 11:45 pm |

    @ Young Ivy

    Here are the Ivy League Coca-Cola ads you asked for:

    http://theivyleaguelook.blogspot.com/search/label/Coca-Cola

  13. @Honest Abe

    Out of curiosity, which rates higher on the Trad-O-Meter, Richard in an extra-slim-fit shirt:

    http://wasp101.blogspot.com/2010/11/brooks-oxford-cloth-button-down-extra.html

    Or Stanley Turrentine in a regular fit shirt:

    http://www.ivy-style.com/black-history-month-stanley-turrentine.html

    Just wondering what carries more weight, the cut of the shirt or the occupation and ethnicity of the shirt’s wearer.

  14. @Christian

    1. I stand corrected about Richard and extra-slim shirts (although that certainly doesn’t look like one in the photo).

    2. I said nothing whatsoever about ethnicity. My criticism was directed at jazz, not at Black jazz musicians.

  15. Whilst I am most definitely one to enjoy snarky articles, particularly those of the highbrow persuasion, I’m also elitist enough to beg to writer to use the Oxford comma. Surely our Ivy League souls were educated in such a manner to find its use absolutely necessary, and our eyes were trained to pity the under-educated fools who have not mastered the skill of the comma.

  16. The Oxford comma introduces an unnecessary pause and is annoying for that reason. In all writing spare use of commas is more sophisticated than overuse, which one always finds in amateur writing.

  17. Christian,
    I beg to differ. The Oxford comma eliminates ambiguity, and is the sign of a careful writer.

    There used to be a sign hanging in the NY Times copy editors’ room in the days of Theodore Bernstein. It read: “GENTLEMEN: WE HAVE AN UNLIMITED SUPPLY OF COMMAS; PLEASE BE GENEROUS IN USING THEM.”

  18. @Christian

    Spare use of commas is most common among those who don’t know the conventions of punctuation.

  19. Punctuator General | February 19, 2012 at 12:06 pm |

    @EB

    “the under-educated fools who have not mastered the skill of the comma.”

    Hear! Hear,

  20. @OCBD

    Totally disagree. A quick perusal of the amateur clothing blogs reveals that the sin of comma overuse is far, far greater than that of underuse. These are the same people who use em dashes randomly rather than for the very specific purpose they provide, and who think an ellipsis adds to their writing rather than makes it sound weak and wishy-washy.

  21. Chadwick Van Der Beak | February 19, 2012 at 1:33 pm |

    I don’t know about you chaps, but when I read this blog, I often feel like I’m going to slip into a comma….seriously!

  22. I, totally agree with, those who, favor the abundant, use of commas.

  23. Not a big fan of wasp 101, but from this post, it at least has two things going for it:
    1) Pugs. Really, those dogs in the picture are as God intended them to be: Incredibly fat!
    2) Ascots. Tried wearing one the others day and let me tell you, it’s like a silk angel is hugging your neck!

  24. Comma comma comma comma, comma chameleon.
    You come and go, you come and go.

  25. Who the heck makes a big deal about the use of commas online? I am a Hemingway scholar who has studied/worked under the worlds leading Faulkner & Hemingway expert (literally), and didn’t notice a problem with this blogger’s “writing style.” There is, Poindexter, a difference between books and blogs.

  26. You were literally studying under him?

  27. @CD

    So, we should be careful about such things as collar rolls, but not commas?

  28. Emily Brontë, Charles Dickens, and other 19th-century authors used so many commas that there weren’t always enough left for 20th-century writers.

    Perhaps that accounts for the modern preference for fewer rather than more commas: there weren’t enough of them to go around until the invention of the artificial comma (created by Prof. Sir Angus Podgorny, D.Phil, OBE, FAIA, VC, FRSE, SC, MBB, MSNBC).

  29. @Yuca- continue learning “good” English to fully understand your misreading.

    @DVD- This is a clothing blog. Poindexter would sound equally snide if he brought up a collar-roll issue on a comma blog (which sounds terribly boring).

    @Henry- Victorian writers, esp. Dickens, notoriously used many commas (Dickens used commas to add more words- as he was paid by the word). This practice changed as writers “streamlined” their style, which would ultimately become modern literature.

  30. Why do you even mention Wasp 101? It is positively the most pretentious, uninformed, self-aggrandizing piece of crap on the internet to date. A grown man wearing his father’s alma mater t-shirt to make people think he went there, seriously? Give me a break, his attempts at trying to be something he is clearly not would be laughable if they weren’t so sad.

  31. Antoine Stumpf | February 21, 2012 at 12:10 pm |

    WASP 101 is beyond ludicrous–the words “ignorant,” “irony-free,” and “vacuous” hardly do this character justice. His strange obsession with RL ads (particularly those with chisel-featured Aryan males), his syncophancy towards the Winsors (particularly Eddie the 8th) and his grovelling at the feet of what he considers to be the upper classes of England are just a few examples of his snobbish stupidity. Sealed in what may very well be an anerobic chamber (lined perhaps with some hideous tartan he considers swanky) he remains impervious to sarcasm.

    Having said that, I can’t make myself look away–Wasp 101 is like some multi-car pile-up on the Garden State Parkway.

    But I’ve found a kind of peace with Richard’s hideous site, preferring to see it as some sort of relentless, monomanical parody . . .

  32. “Totally disagree. A quick perusal of the amateur clothing blogs reveals that the sin of comma overuse is far, far greater than that of underuse. These are the same people who use em dashes randomly rather than for the very specific purpose they provide, and who think an ellipsis adds to their writing rather than makes it sound weak and wishy-washy.”

    Point taken, Christian. I’m guilty of all those things. Thanks for the advice. :)

  33. Michael Mattis | February 22, 2012 at 4:28 pm |

    Best comment awards:

    @George:

    “Comma comma comma comma, comma chameleon.
    You come and go, you come and go.”

    @Henry

    “Emily Brontë, Charles Dickens, and other 19th-century authors used so many commas that there weren’t always enough left for 20th-century writers.”

    The titters of the day. Thanks, gentlemen.

  34. @Michael Mattis

    Just trying to bring some culture to this club.

  35. What are amateur clothing blogs? Blogs that don’t accept advertising?

  36. Correct. Blogs that don’t generate revenue, that employ a username rather than the blogger’s real name, and which aren’t an extension of the blogger’s career in a related field, such as media.

  37. Understood. I’ll have to add a line under the title banner saying “Weak Wishy-washy Writing from Financially Secure Blogger.”

  38. Michael,

    Thank you and you’re welcome.

  39. @Laguna

    “Dude”, grow up.
    It’s embarrassing.

  40. Well…..Mr LBF. Fancies himself a gentleman only
    a few steps removed from “James Bond”.
    Yet, what is he really. What is “Richard” really.
    12 year old obscenities? You are the real thing?
    Chensvold the poser?.

    LBF responses as well as Richard’s typical ones
    from the past, destroy ,DESTROY their credibility.
    Theirs is a reaction of being humiliated.
    They know they are phony. If all it takes is Chensvold
    drawing attention to you in a non complimentary way,
    to reduce you to resorting to “little kid utilizing
    cursing because he’s overheard the older kids,
    the cool kids he wishes he were in 6th grade use it”…

    Your responses LBF are for grade school embarrassment.
    DId Chensvold find your adult skin mag in your
    locker and pass it around for all to see?

    He pushed your buttons and what does the soul
    of your response reveal? THE REAL YOU.
    There is a good chance YOU ARE a little kid
    playing make pretend with this whole LBF thing.
    Actually he pushed Richard’s buttons making your
    response even more pathetic.

    By the By Christian ol’ smart mouth Yankee
    Whiskey Papa ,supporter of WASP 101, is
    insulting YOU with his last “wishy washy” comment.

  41. Jinx, you owe me a Coke.

  42. Dickey Greenleaf | February 25, 2012 at 9:19 am |

    As long as we know what your talking about, I don’t see any problem with the use, or unuse of commas in our discussions, right?

  43. The reason I asked the question in this section is because Ivy Style (a professional blog) cheapens itself when it dedicates these pages and content to trashing another blogger, and by Mr. Chensvold’s definition, an “amateur blog.” Above, you have someone called “Jinx” (and many others in the past) trying to drum up camaraderie by calling people like me a “supporter of WASP 101” (whatever that means). I support WASP 101 just as I support Ivy Style and I support all blogs because they are written by people who take the time to put content together and post it, like it or not. Like others, I give jabs and pokes here and there, but there exists no actual malice.

    The only time I dislike this blog’s content is when its author dedicates entire posts to specifically attacking named individuals for the harmless blogs they continue to post. You can’t mount the high-horse of “professional” versus “amateur” and then make a regular component of your mission petty stabs at a blog that many dislike. It may play well for a fringe group of readers, but it cheapens this blog (and I like Ivy Style). Besides, shouldn’t the amateur blogs be the ones taking cheap shots at professional ones and not the other way around?

    Again, I like this blog and hope that it continues, but I am certainly not alone in this critique.

  44. YWP:

    I thank you for taking the time to write that and feel I owe you a response, though I’m not exactly sure what I can say. I certainly don’t want to argue for arguing’s sake. So let me just make a few points.

    I’ve been writing for a long time, during which I’ve shared many opinions, so I’m quite accustomed to having readers disagree with me. About 12 years ago I wrote a number of op-ed pieces for a newspaper back in California, and after one of them my own sister denounced me in a letter to the editor. So since starting this website I’ve been well aware that you can’t please all of the people all of the time.

    Now Ivy Style is about to approach its 500th post, and I can assure you that very few are ones whose sole topic is WASP 101 (we last did one on Halloween, and before that I can’t remember; is there another one?) I’d like to think the Halloween post was done with gentle mockery rather than malice. As for this post, it does have the news peg (however innocuous) of a new tumblr site, and I think it reads as fairly detached and that the point about juxtaposing photos of oneself with famous people and fantasy images is certainly a curious sociological phenomenon of our digital age.

    While it’s true that it may be petty for a professional writer to pick on an amateur blog, I’d counter that Richard may be an amateur (though he tried to solicit advertising and failed), but he has also made himself a public figure by maintaining a site about himself on the Internet (that the site attempts to speak for WASPdom itself is laughable but certainly another matter). And as Tradsville, as I like to call it, is a relatively small community, I think it’s worth the occasional commentary.

    Beyond that, you can chalk it up to character flaws on my part. Richard is so stupefyingly fatuous I can scarcely wrap my head around it, and he’s just too tempting of a target not to lob the occasional water balloon.

  45. But isn’t there something a bit touching about Richard’s blog? He’s like the Great Gatsby; completely clueless, but wanting to remake himself and follow a dream. There’s something quintessentally American about it.

  46. Yes, there’s something very Gatsbyesque about pretending to be Tom Buchanan.

  47. @bluenose
    @Christian

    Is it not, in fact, the case that most of us Ivy followers weren’t born into it and are doing our best to look as if we were?

  48. There’s a posturing/faux crest aspect of him that I hope few of us share.

  49. Herringbone –

    Agreed, many of us fit that mould to some extent, and as I hinted in my previous post, I don’t see anything particularly wrong about Richard’s fantasy. If I really cared about how other people dress, I would just criticize him for his lack of taste.

  50. Sighhhhhh…
    What’s wrong with “fantasy” is
    when it turns to Obsession.

    One does not need be a WASP to possess a fanciful
    wardrobe, an elegant estate, a stable, a yacht, private
    planes, private memberships ,in short a “luxurious” life
    that some can’t stop obsessing over.

    To dream is one thing. To dream your life away is another.
    While maintaining this foolish obsession the opportunity
    to attain your personal desires and wishes for life
    are being sabotaged because you won’t accept your
    reality and build from it.

    SO WHAT if you’re not a WASP, GET – A – LIFE.
    To deliberately pose yourself as something you’re not
    on a daily basis when you could be building a REAL
    life for yourself with REAL rewards and dreams,
    goals, wishes. You are throwing away the GIFT
    OF LIFE ITSELF if you believe it is intended for
    the pursuit of happiness.

    A self styled man who has a complete healthy
    relationship to himself,(the highest personal growth
    known as self -actualized ,a psychological term)
    will get the most out of life.

    If you do not ,and for whatever reason ,simply
    cannot ,have and or rectify, repair, establish
    a healthy relationship to yourself, forget it.
    You WILL dream your life away and have
    a very sad ending.

  51. Boris Nofziger | February 28, 2012 at 8:54 am |

    Holy Toledo!

    I check this site out occasionally because the jackets are great. I love tweed. I rarely read the comments, but I’ll leave one when there’s something interesting to be said.

    I read what I thought was all the comments [in the world] today. You guys really get your feathers ruffled about nothing, eh? Writing prose and debating commas? Go drink an import and relax.

  52. “…the corruption of the authentic self in the digital age.”

    This perfectly captures my irritation with blogs like Unabashedly Prep. What I find alarming is that its readers buy into the artifice. And god forbid one post a dissenting opinion….it’s immediately deleted.

  53. A note on the wasp101 bashers.

    Oh my what a pathetic attempts to bash wasp101. The utter endeavor to start an entire post or even blog aimed at the single purpose of bringing one man down, as well as the smug arrogance regarding the presumed knowledge of the ‘true WASP’ thing, comes off as a blunt disgrace.

    I find it hard to empathize with the great efforts to shed bad light on wasp101. FYI, the first definition of WASP by sociologist Hacker in ’57 goes “they are wealthy, they are Anglo-Saxon in origin, and they are Protestants.” Judging from this definition, I don’t see why Richard cannot be WASP. What then, could cause the ranting? Not his style of clothing, as his criticizers point out correctly that this has an element of subjectivity and can consequently not be harshly criticized. Nor could it be his unabashed exhibitioning of himself, as they claim to possess sufficient civilization in order to not bash fellow human beings for something small like this.

    No, the only satisfying interpretation remaining is that the wasp101 bashers are a bunch of poor and porky nudniks incited by envy over Richard’s superior financial situation which enables him to dress up in a completely new “waspy” outfit every week. Please, gentlemen, get a life. Christian, it would suit you to withhold from this misery in the future.

  54. We recently passed the threshold of 10,000 comments.

    This is right at the top as far as baffling strangeness goes.

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